Thousands of people across the East of England with Type 1 Diabetes are receiving life-changing flash glucose monitors following the NHS Long Term Plan, with numbers growing week by week.
In people with Type 1 Diabetes, the body isn’t able to make enough insulin and people with the condition therefore rely on insulin injections. They must closely monitor their blood sugar to avoid levels going too low or too high, either of which can be extremely dangerous. This can mean multiple painful finger-prick checks every day.
The innovative device, which is the size of a £2 coin and worn on the arm, means people with Type 1 Diabetes can avoid the burden of multiple finger-prick checks and can instead monitor their blood sugar levels through conveniently swiping a reader device, such as their smartphone, over the monitor’s sensor.
Published in January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan set out changes which came into action in April, meaning people with Type 1 Diabetes across the country could have access to these devices on prescription if eligibility criteria were met. Since then, tens of thousands of people across England have already benefitted from the rapid roll out of the technology.
Speaking in Parliament celebrating the success, Prof Partha Kar, NHS National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes, said:
“Providing flash monitors on the NHS is a huge leap forward and it is fantastic to see the roll out make an instant impact, this is another example of how the NHS is making sure patients can benefit from the latest technologies.
“I’m thrilled with how many people are already benefitting from the device and doing away with inconvenient finger-prick checks. Less than a year into delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan, tens of thousands of people are experiencing first-hand the difference that cutting edge treatments on the NHS are making for people living with Type 1 Diabetes across the country.”
The NHS Long Term Plan also commits to rolling out continuous glucose monitors from April 2020 for every pregnant woman with Type 1 Diabetes, in its latest step to harness the power of digital technology.”
23-year-old Olivia from a seaside town in Essex was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes aged seven. She started using an NHS-funded monitor in April. Speaking at a Parliamentary Reception held last night (Monday 21 October), she said:
“I’d never considered that a device like a glucose monitor, where you don’t need to finger prick to know what your levels are, would be developed in my lifetime, it hadn’t even crossed my mind! I can’t quite believe something so small has had such an impact on managing my diabetes.
“Since using the monitor, I’ve seen a huge improvement in my blood sugar levels as I can make informed decisions when taking my insulin by looking at trends. Above all, it’s helped me have more confidence and improved my mental well-being, I find it easier to sleep knowing that my blood sugar is stable before I go to bed and I can confidently get in my car and drive off knowing I’m at a safe level to drive and my sugars aren’t dropping.”
Dr Chirag Bakhai, GP and Primary Care Lead for the East of England Diabetes Clinical Network, said:
“It’s great to see that the NHS Long Term Plan is helping more people with Type 1 Diabetes have access to flash glucose monitoring. For people who’d otherwise have to check their blood sugars with painful finger-pricks more than eight times a day, this technology can be life-changing. If it helps people achieve better blood sugar control, this may also reduce their risks of the long-term complications of diabetes.
“The NHS is making a number of exciting improvements in diabetes care over the next few years. As well as reducing variation in access to flash glucose monitoring, the NHS has committed to providing continuous glucose monitoring in pregnancy for people with Type 1 Diabetes, universal coverage of multi-disciplinary footcare teams and diabetes inpatient specialist nurses, rolling out the Healthy Living for People with Type 2 Diabetes digital structured education programme and testing real-world pilots of low-calorie diets in Type 2 Diabetes.”
The NHS Long Term Plan also sets out world leading action to help prevent Type 2 Diabetes, including doubling capacity of the flagship NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to 200,000 people a year.